why the prowicz family chose native plants for their garden
(this entry was written sometime in 2003; I have updated it for 2013)
our research into prairie gardening started in march 2002 after spending the entire winter designing and planning our backyard pond. we had completed our pond research after reading several books on the topic and surfing the Internet religiously for information for several months (building a pond is a very large project.)we knew that we would not be able to start building the pond at least until our six foot fence was up (municipal regulation) and the weather got a little nicer, so in the spring of 2002 our interest turned to the "rest of the yard" and what was going to be done about it.
we wanted to find some type of gardening that was very low maintenance and learned about perennials. this was mostly due to the magazines that laura's mother left at the house to motivate her to do something about the barren yard and a better home and garden booklet laura picked up by accident at the local kmart.
we decided that perennials were the way to go as soon as we read that they would come back every year without having to do any replanting each spring. we also learned that most of the marsh and emergent plants we were planning on planting in and around the pond area were perennial as well. we knew we could deal with a big hump of work in the spring of this year if we could look forward to relative relaxation in subsequent years, just dealing with basic maintenance and small improvements.
once perennials were decided upon, we started looking into what was native in our area. this led us to the whole world of the tallgrass prairie, which is what the land of our house used to be before it was cultivated for agriculture and then developed into a suburban neighborhood in the 1950's.
Kenneth R. Robertson of the Illinois Natural History Survey has a web site online called The Tallgrass Prairie in Illinois and it is a "must-read" for anyone interested in learning about illinois' fascinating native habitat.
insofar as it relates to our property in particular, we decided to go with 100% native tallgrass prairie gardens of perennials suited to our soil, light and moisture conditions. this concept also extends to our backyard pond and its surrounding landscaping.